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So I'm having an issue with my supervisor with whom I have been working, as a naval architect, for 6 months now. He expects work to be delivered at a certain pace which I find difficult to do. This is not due to a lack of effort - from the moment I clock in to the end of my shift, I'm literally working as fast as I can.

I discussed this issue with him a few months ago and was told that I should ask more questions and reach out when I need help so we can solve problems faster.

With that in mind; I ask a lot of questions. If I don't ask for help and my work falls behind I get chastised for it. However now it seems I ask for too much help as I get little quips from my boss before he decides he wants to help.

Recently, I'd say the past week, we have been having awkward conversations everyday where I'm told I'm not getting enough done. My response is that I'm working as fast as I can and that I have been very open about communicating any issues I have. He tells me he thinks that I'm lying. That new hires are more productive than you. Then we just go in circles with the same lines.

What is the proper response to this? I don't know what else to say or do.

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  • How far behind are you in completing your tasks? – sf02 Jan 8 at 21:47
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He tells me he thinks that I'm lying.

I can't believe he said that. Are you working from home by any chance? Or is he working from home?

Ask the other new hires how come they work much more quickly than you do. Are they cutting corners? Working weekends? Reducing the scope somehow? Do they know tricks that you don't know? Did they work weekends when they first started out? Did they have experience prior to this job? Most jobs have a learning curve initially.

But otherwise, start looking for a new job elsewhere. This boss is absolutely awful. He has no emotional maturity whatsoever. And it's easier to be offered a job elsewhere when you're still employed somewhere.

From the moment I clock in to the end of my shift, I'm literally working as fast as I can.

For a day or two, keep a time log of what you're doing in 15 min increments. If you're like most of us, you probably lose concentration after 10 to 25 minutes. If so, try the Pomodoro techniques. Take a small break every 25 minutes.

I know you may feel like doing the opposite, taking no break to make sure you work as much as you can, but this can have the opposite effect.

Also, if you seem to be missing a particular skill, or if you're particularly slow at a particular task, write down what those skills/tasks are on a spreadsheet. I recommend this particular format, a retrospective analysis. And if you tell us what you're really slow at, I think we could help you formulate a tentative study plan. You'll have to practice outside of work hours, but if you don't want to lose your job, this may be the only option that is left to you.

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  • This, exactly. If a staff member is having problems, that falls on leadership to fix. – Wesley Long Jan 8 at 22:05
  • Wonderful answer dude .. – Cap Barracudas Jan 10 at 22:00
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One thing that in my experience managers love, is to know when a work item will be finished, and know as far ahead of time as possible whether that work item will be delayed. Conversely, one thing they hate is to not know when a work item will be finished, or get very late notice of any delays. This is because managers need to make elapsed-time commitments to their bosses, and in order to do so they need this information.

Something that you don't mention in your post: is the work you are performing subject to any deadlines, targets, or other goals? It kind of sounds like your boss just wants you to "work faster", but without reference to a target or goal it's kind of meaningless.

If there are deadlines, then how are the deadlines set? Are you agreeing to them? And if so, do you meet them? If so then your boss sounds like he/she simply doesn't like your work. If there are no deadlines, then any talk of performance is kind of meaningless, and your boss just has an opinion that you are slow.

Regardless of whether there are deadlines or not, I would start to provide an estimate in writing, at least effort-based, but ideally elapsed-time-based, for every work item you are given, and then deliver to that estimate. Then after a while you will have enough empirical evidence that you can demonstrate to your boss, or anyone else, that no performance issue exists.

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